Tony Martin boosts Tour de France morale with 8th German TT title

Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) claimed his seventh-consecutive title in the German time trial championship Friday, beating Jasha Sutterlin (Movistar) and Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb) on a 45km course in Einhausen and adding a morale boost ahead of the upcoming Tour de France.

In his first race since the Giro d'italia, Martin covered the 45km course 1:02 better than Sutterlin and 1:31 quicker than Arndt. Martin's Katusha-Alpecin teammate Nils Polit was fifth, 2:06 back.

"I can not remember that I was so motivated for a German TT championship," Martin said at the finish. "After the first few metres, I quickly realized that the legs were really good, because before the race I did not know how my condition was. After the Giro I was pretty tired and I took a longer break. This was my first competition since finishing in Rome, so I'm happy about this good performance."

Martin wore yellow at the Tour de France for three days in 2016 before breaking his collarbone near the finish of stage 6. He abandoned the race while still in yellow. He moved from Quick-Step to Katusha-Alpecin last year and bookended the Tour de France with fourth in the opening time trial and fourth in the final time trial on the penultimate day.

This year he'll be opening the race riding for new teammate Marcel Kittel in the expected stage 1 sprint finish.

"I am going now to the Tour de France with a good feeling and confidence," Martin said. "After a short, fast analysis of the performance data, I was able to keep constant from the beginning to the end of the race my power. This is very important for a rider like me."

Martin will be a pivotal player in the stage 3 team trial, hoping to emerge with a time that will keep team GC rider Ilnur Zakarin in the overall running.The only other time trial comes on stage 20, when Martn and the peloton will test themselves on a 31km course between Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle and Espelette.

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